Newswire

Mexico's Street Gangs Following Larger Drug Trafficking Organizations' Violence Blueprint

Recent decapitations and killings have residents on edge over whether local street gangs are mimicking larger drug trafficking organization violence in the nation's capital. "I think of these groups as cells, as franchises," said Alfredo Castillo, attorney general for Mexico state, the suburban area surrounding Mexico City. "As franchises what do they want? They want the know-how, the business model, and in the end, they want their backing in case of an extraordinary problem." (Link to Story)

San Diego Hammers Down on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Despite Public Support

Despite overwhelming public input asking for a looser ordinance that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to locate in commercial areas throughout San Diego and remain open while they pursued permits, the San Diego City Council voted 5-2 for an ordinance that will close down all dispensaries for at least a year and force them to locate only in industrial zones — inconveniently far from the patients they serve. (Link to Story)

First East Coast Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens in Maine

A small, unassuming house that has been converted to a business opened its doors, making it the first legal medical marijuana dispensary on the East Coast. Safe Alternatives is housed in Frenchville, Maine on Route 1 with no signage, but plenty of security cameras as required by state law. (Link to Story)
Posted in:

Texas Representative Says Drug Trafficking Organizations Threatening US Agents

Mexican drug trafficking organization members threatened to kill U.S. agents working on the American side of the border. Republican Michael McCaul said a law enforcement bulletin was issued warning that Mexican traffickers were overheard plotting to kill Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Texas Rangers stationed along the border. (Link to Story)

Majorities of Americans Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana in Their State Says Harris Poll

A new Harris Poll indicates that three quarters of Americans support legalization of marijuana for medical treatment (74%), with almost half saying they strongly support it (48%). Significantly fewer Americans say they oppose the legalization of medical marijuana in their state (18%), and even less are not sure (7%) or decline to answer (1%). (Link to Story)

Further Regulation of Medical Marijuana in Rhode Island Opposed

Medical marijuana patients and the caregivers who provide the drug for them came out in large numbers to a hearing at the State House in opposition to a bill that would further regulate the industry. They said the proposal, introduced by state Rep. John M. Carnevale, would raise the prices for medical marijuana and potentially limit patients’ access. (Link to Story)

Why It's Obvious We Are Losing the War on Drugs

Ed Dolan, an economist and textbook writer, discusses the economics of drug prohibition. He says drug trafficking organizations are strong because the US drug war strategy makes them strong. (Link to Story)

More Black Men in Prison Today Than Enslaved in 1850, Drug Laws the Reason

Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, told an audience at the Pasadena Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, "More African-American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began." Why have rates of incarcerated black men skyrocketed over the past 30 years? Alexander says it's the war on drugs which focuses primarily on minority communities even though multiple studies have proved that whites use and sell illegal drugs at rates equal to or higher than blacks. Despite this data, four of five black youths in some inner-city communities can expect to be incarcerated in their lifetimes. (Link to Story)

Poll: Mexicans Think Drug Trafficking Organizations Are Winning Drug Prohibition War

Six out of 10 Mexicans think that drug trafficking organizations are getting the upper hand in the prohibitionist war that President Felipe Calderon launched when he came to office in late 2006, the poll by Demotecnia found. The poll may augur a change in the country's approach to drug trafficking when a new administration takes over after elections next year. (Link to Story)

Pot Politics on Capitol Hill: Proponents Aim to Shift Industry's Image

Supporters of decriminalizing marijuana are hoping to build momentum on Capitol Hill after a historic election that saw the politics of pot take center stage in four states. The marijuana industry's public relations campaign has so far been limited to states, especially California, where a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana almost passed in November. But today, the National Cannabis Industry Association, launched in December to represent the interests of legal marijuana growers and distributors, will hold the first congressional lobbying day in the nation's capital, hoping to shore up support for an industry they say could bring billions of dollars in revenue to the government. (Link to Story)

Authorities in Awe of Drug Trafficking Organizations' Jungle-Built, Kevlar-Coated Supersubs

For decades, Colombian drug trafficking organization have pursued their trade with amazingly professional ingenuity, staying a step ahead of authorities by coming up with one innovation after another. When false-paneled pickups and tractor-trailers began drawing suspicion at US checkpoints, the traffickers and their Mexican partners built air-conditioned tunnels under the border. When border agents started rounding up too many human mules, one group of Colombian smugglers surgically implanted heroin into purebred puppies. But the drug runners’ most persistently effective method has also been one of the crudest — semi-submersible vessels that cruise or are towed just below the ocean’s surface and can hold a ton or more of cocaine. (Link to Story)

First Federal Agency to Acknowledge Medical Marijuana Removes Anti-Tumor Information from Database

Last week, The American Independent was first to report that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) had added a section on medical marijuana to its treatment database, making it the first federal agency to formally recognize marijuana’s medicinal properties. Now, for reasons unknown, NCI has altered the page by removing any mention of the evidence that marijuana can diminish and even reverse tumor growth. The American Independent is awaiting reply from NCI on the reasons for the change. (Link to Story)

Arizona's Medical Marijuana Rules Released

The Arizona Department of Health Services released the final draft of the medical marijuana rules. Those who qualify for a medical marijuana patient card can begin registering for cards on April 14 online. (Link to Story)

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Selling 'Joints for Japan'

A medical marijuana business is donating 100 percent of the profit from marijuana joints to earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. Compassionate Pain Management's two Colorado locations in Lakewood and Louisville are selling joints for $5 a piece to those with a medical marijuana card and recommendation. Owner Shaun Gindi has promised profits from sales for at least the next two to three weeks to go to the Red Cross for recovery efforts in Japan. (Link to Story)

230,000 Displaced by Mexico Drug Prohibition War, Half May Have Come to the United States

A new study by the Swiss-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Center that at least 230,000 people have been displaced in Mexico because of drug prohibition violence and that about half of them may have taken refuge in the United States. (Link to Story)

U.S. Led Drug Prohibition Wars Have Failed, Expert Tells Panama Conference

Speaking at a regional security conference, Hans Mathieu, director of the Friedrich Ebert Security Foundation, said using violent repression in the "war" against drugs doesn’t work and policies against drug trafficking, especially those headed by the United States, have failed. (Link to Story)

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox Tells Four Arts Audience He Favors Legalizing Drug Use

As president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, Vicente Fox waged war on the wealthy drug trafficking organizations that wield so much power in his country. But now the former president says it is time to end the war that has cost 40,000 lives in five years. The answer, Fox told a Society of Four Arts audience, is to legalize drugs. "I don’t think nobody’s going to eradicate drugs from the face of the Earth," Fox said. "Yes, I am promoting the legalizing of drug consumption. Mexico has to get out of this trap. The sooner, the better. The cost for Mexico is too much." (Link to Story)

Marijuana Legalization Advocates Organize to Put New Measure on California Ballot

The campaign behind the initiative to legalize marijuana in California which lost narrowly announced it had formed a new committee to put another measure on the ballot. The Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform 2012 aims to build on the support that coalesced around Proposition 19, which would have allowed adults to grow and possess marijuana and authorized cities and counties to legalize and tax sales. Proposition 19 lost 46%-54% in November, but it drew worldwide media attention and stimulated a vigorous debate over the nation's drug policies. Polls have shown growing support for marijuana legalization nationwide, and a post-election poll in California suggested the measure might have passed if proponents had had the money for a campaign to reach swing voters. (Link to Story)

California Medical Marijuana Dispensary Plans to Take IRS to Court

The IRS is thought to have begun audits on at least 12 medical marijuana dispensaries in California under the determination that past business deductions are invalid because of a clause in the federal tax code prohibiting any business that traffics in Schedule I or II drugs from making business deductions on their tax returns. Lynette Shaw, founder and owner of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, is hoping to strike back before the IRS can deliver any more "final determinations" to other dispensaries currently being audited. Shaw intends to file an appeal in U.S. Tax Court within the month. There is actually a precedent for just such a case, when in 2007, a San Francisco dispensary primarily catering to terminal AIDS patients got its payment cut down to just over 1 percent of what the IRS originally said it owed in back taxes. (Link to Story)

More Kids Caught in the Crossfire of Mexico’s Drug Prohibition War

Sadly, the fatal shooting of a 4-year-old girl brought to three the number of children to die violently in the Mexican resort city of Acapulco within the last 72 hours. Fifteen people have been slain in Acapulco since Tuesday, including a woman and two of her grandchildren gunned down inside the family home. The mayhem is taking a toll on tourism in Acapulco, scaring away many of the U.S. college students who would normally flock to the city for spring break. (Link to Story)

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School